A good and popular book series does not a strong film series make. Now, the Divergent series hasn’t been the most awful film series adapted from a young adult book series (we could have a long debate about what takes that crown), but it certainly isn’t a series that pushes boundaries of the genre or even tries to come up with some original ideas as it goes along. The Divergent series is happy just coasting along giving the movie going public what they expect. If you liked the first two films of the series then you will find the third entertaining. If you demand a little more than safety and routine in your films then wait for another film worthy of Shailene Woodley’s talent.
After the surprising revelation about Insurgent, Tris (Shailene Woodley – The Fault in Our Stars, The Descendents), Four (Theo James – Underworld: Awakening, Insurgent), Christina (Zoe Kravitz – Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: First Class), Caleb (Ansel Elgort – Divergent, Carrie – 2013), and Peter (Miles Teller – Whiplash, Fantastic Four) decide that they must flee to the other side of the wall encircling Chicago. This is a big step for all of them as they have never been outside of Chicago.
Once they are successful they quickly realize that everything they believed in is not true. All have to decide who they can trust and who they cannot. All remain true to who they essentially are. Four figures things out quickly, Tris tries to see the good in all, Caleb remains aloof and outside the group, Christina follows along loyally, while Peter tries to what is best for him. Soon the very existence of all of humanity hangs in the balance.
While the world created by director Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D., The Time Traveller’s Wife) looks great the substance of it is lacking. Most of the content is rather lazily done. The story skips around a lot making it hard to grab a hold of if you have not read the books. Little continuity results in some rather large gaps. The lack of attention paid to the details continues. Emotions are not focused on. Yes, it is a sci-fi/action film, but the humanity involved it in is its essence. Even the scenes that try to establish the deep relationship between Tris and Four are rather empty not allowing you to really believe the deep of their love for one another. Even that great chemistry between James and Woodley has disappeared. Everything about the film feels like you have seen it before in the other two films and other sci-fi/action films of similar ilk. Because of this the characters end up just being empty shells with very little character development occurring.
Not all is awful. There are some insightful moments in regards to society and the way it operates in today’s world. The labeling of people and separation into groups. Also, many of the action sequences are very well done.
After two hours you have not really gotten anywhere. There is really only about 45 minutes of story; it is just dragged out to make it feature length. Retread and filler. In the end you will be left feeling rather empty and a little ripped off. Too bad because in the beginning this franchise demonstrated plenty of potential.